Pitchers and catchers report in five days. Five days! That means spring training baseball is about to start. The games under the afternoon sun are not far off. The smell of sunscreen and hot dogs is just beyond reach, but in five days, we’ll get a whiff. Sunglasses, ball gloves, and lawn seating are some of the first images that come to mind when I think of spring baseball. Skipping work, spending too much money at the team shop, and prospect watching are some other favorite spring pastimes. However, five days is not much time to prepare, so I’m here with a checklist of things to do in preparation for the fast-approaching spring schedule and the not-so-distant start to the regular season.
1. Get MLB Extra Innings or MLB.tv
Sounds like a shameless plug right? It’s not. Directv and MLB.com are not paying me. Not even close. In fact, I pay them. But the fact is, you need access to more than just Padres games. We are fans, which means we must scout the opponents. Not because the teams needs us to, but because we need to know what to expect. What games do we want to attend during the season? Which games will provide the best action or the best pitching match-ups? MLB Extra Innings or MLB.tv (which is my favorite) allows us to watch it all. Don’t settle for just one game per day/night. Neglect your family and friends, flip on the TV, and watch games all afternoon and night.
2. Get your Opening Day Tickets Now
April 5th is opening day against none other than the hated Dodgers. That game is sure to sell out quick, so if you’re still reading this stop. Go get your opening day tickets, then come back.
…You done? OK, not only do you get to see Timmy Stauffer make another likely opening day start, but you get to grab yourself an opening day T-shirt and 2012 schedule cling. May not seem cool now, but in 20 years when some fan is coming through the FanFest garage sale and finds your old used shirt and schedule cling, they’ll think they’ve struck gold.
3. Plan Your Trip to Arizona
I don’t need to plan much as I live in the Grand Canyon State already. Sad? Maybe a little, but Tucson, AZ is nothing if not an eastern extension of San Diego. Nevertheless, start your planning now. The first spring game is March 3rd at Seattle (for those keeping score at home, “at Seattle” is really a spring home game for the Padres since they share the park in Peoria). Here are some other notable games:
March 9th – At the Angels (Tempe Diablo Stadium). Your first chance to see Albert Pujols wearing a different color red.
March 11th – Vs the Diamondbacks. Nothing special about this game really, but it is the day Daylight Savings time begins. Get confused as you wander the Arizona streets wondering why time has not leapt forward an hour.
March 29th – Vs the Cubs. Want to see Anthony Rizzo in a Cubs jersey? Here’s your chance. The Cubs will face off against San Diego in Peoria and we all may be able to see Anthony Rizzo dominate spring ball.
4. Vote for Your Padres All-Stars
What? Voting hasn’t started yet? Well they start All-Star voting so early every year I thought it just began at the beginning of the season. So scratch this one off the checklist. But for the record, your votes should be Cameron Maybin, Chase Headley, and Yonder Alonso (that’s right, I’m picking Alonso to be good enough to get a nod from Padres fans).
5. Buy Some T-Shirts
Nothing says you care more than racing home from work and throwing on your favorite Padres shirt. Dare I say the right shirt can even cause the team to win? I dare. It is a scientifically-proven fact that wearing the right shirt on the right night guarantees a win. So if the team loses, you need a new shirt. Going by last season, you may need upwards of 91 shirts. Hopefully you’ll need far less, but get cracking.
There you have it, a checklist to get you prepped for the upcoming season. If you’re not excited yet, you’re not a fan. This is about the time your attention may be drawn to college basketball (a solid alternative to baseball), but by no means should you be spending more than 3% of your time on the NBA. It’s baseball season folks! Get started on that list.